November 2012: Staff Reviews & More
Here are three new staff reviews for you! We also have some great events coming up. Plus, check out what's new in Poetry.
|Our staff brings you three new favorites:
by Anne Applebaum
reviewed by: Jeff
My reading choices often focus on 20th century history and World War Two. A new release that fits into both categories is Iron Curtain.
Americans these days know almost nothing about conditions in post-war
Europe and the early origins of the Cold War. Daily life was often
violent and chaotic in Eastern Europe, most of which had been occupied
by the Soviet army under terms of the Yalta agreement. Josef Stalin
immediately set to work crushing any notion of free elections and
establishing communist governments and brutally efficient security
agencies. Fear of communism here in the US has been justified and
derided by politicians, journalists, and historians during the past 50
years. What Iron Curtain shows, in painful detail, is how the
Soviets relied on force, fear, and a large number of willing
collaborators to create and control satellite states. It's a story that
needs to be known widely, and never forgotten.
Where'd You Go, Bernadette
by Maria Semple
reviewed by: Mary
When Bobby, Will and I all love a novel, you know something unusual is
going on.In this case it's a funny, edgy, good-hearted send-up of all
things Seattle; in particular a badly-located, upper-crust private
school.But behind all the cleverness is a really touching, often
hilarious story about an off-kilter but loving family.Add a little
adventure, a little infidelity, the gradual revealing of the secrets of
the back-story, and you have a very satisfying read. I became quite
attached to this family of three and I'm hoping for a sequel.
Far from the Tree
by Andrew Solomon
reviewed by: Matt
Solomon goes deep. In Far from the Tree
he pursues understanding of how we conceptualize and perceive
differences--particularly those labeled disabilities--between us. Then
he gives us ten examples complete with fascinating stories of
individuals who suffer and/or celebrate illness/identity. As with Noonday Demon,
the prodigious research Solomon has done is supplemented sweetly by his
own life; the bookmarks on these ten case studies are Solomon's own
experience as a son and as a father. No reader will leave this book
without having learned a ton.
Our 2012 Reading Series Concludes With:
Peaceful Places: Portland
Monday, November 19, 7pm
Paul Gerald is the man who gave us 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles of Portland and Breakfast in Bridgetown.
This time, Gerald is off in search of peace and quiet, and he invites
the reader along to quiet tables, parks and gardens, enchanting walks,
outdoor habitats, and other retreats. Seeking out the places or times
when the crowds will be elsewhere, Gerald will give you the essence of
what each place is about-what makes it peaceful or inviting. But he
does not stint on also giving you all the detailed info you need to
find the place and get there at the crowd-free time. The theme that
carries throughout the book is a simple one: Portland is a great city,
but it's still a city, and sometimes folks just need a break. Annie
Bloom's Books is proud to be included among Gerald's peaceful places.
New Humor Books
|The Onion Book of Known Knowledge
by The Onion
Replete with an astonishing assemblage of facts, illustrations, maps,
charts, threats, blood, and additional fees to edify even the most
simple-minded book-buyer, The Onion Book of Known Knowledge is
packed with valuable information--such as the life stages of an Aunt;
places to kill one's self in Utica, New York; and the dimensions of a
female bucket, or "pail." With hundreds of entries for all 27 letters of
the alphabet, this book must be purchased immediately to avoid the
sting of eternal ignorance.
by Stephen Colbert
As perfect as America is in every single way, America is broken! And we
can't exchange it because we're 236 years past the 30-day return
window. Luckily, America Again will singlebookedly pull this
country back from the brink. Covering subject's ranging from healthcare
("I shudder to think where we'd be without the wide variety of
prescription drugs to treat our maladies, such as think-shuddering") to
the economy ("Life is giving us lemons, and we're shipping them to the
Chinese to make our lemon-flavored leadonade"), Stephen gives America
the dose of truth it needs to get back on track.
Every Day Is an Atheist Holiday!
by Penn Jillette
Whether he's contemplating the possibility of life after death,
deconstructing popular Christmas carols, or just calling bullsh*t on
Donald Trump's apprentice training, Jillette does not fail to shock and
delight his readers. And as ever, underneath these rollicking rants lie
a deeply personal philosophy and a generous spirit, which find joy and
meaning in family, and peace in the simple beauty of the everyday. Every Day Is an Atheist Holiday!
is a hysterical affirmation of life's magic from one of the most
distinctly perceptive and provocative humorists writing today.